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Tamron 70-300mm: Just $129!
Posted By: Adam, 03-12-2018, 12:01 PM

For those who may have missed last week's insane deal on the Pentax 55-300mm, this week you can get the Tamron 70-300mm for even less!

Tamron 70-300mm F4-5.6 AF Di LD Macro
21% Off / $34 Below Average

Year's price range: $129 - $170
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03-12-2018, 01:21 PM   #2
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I do 99% of my shooting outdoors and this is the lens I normally use. It's a decent piece of glass for the price.
03-13-2018, 01:17 PM   #3
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I like mine, haven't felt the need to go to the 55-300 (thought I do think the newer PLM is a better lens optically, but the older 55-300 version has a bit more contrast but isn't sharper).

I wonder if this means it's being discontinued in Pentax mount. Which would make sense unfortunately, as this is one of their older designs now.
03-16-2018, 07:25 PM   #4
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I have the 55-300 DA and the Tamron 70-300, and briefly had the 55-300 HD DA. People shouldn't dismiss the value of the Tamron - it has some pros and cons vs. the 55-300. Yes I'd prefer a perfect copy of the 55-300 over the Tamron, but finding a perfect copy can be problematic.

03-17-2018, 12:22 PM   #5
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I bought one of these year before last at a reasonable price. Its not as good as the first one I had, the zoom ring is really stiff. That said, its more than adequate for my needs. I had a DA55-300 and sold it. I prefer the Tamron. Go figure.
03-18-2018, 06:53 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I bought one of these year before last at a reasonable price. Its not as good as the first one I had, the zoom ring is really stiff. That said, its more than adequate for my needs. I had a DA55-300 and sold it. I prefer the Tamron. Go figure.
For a while I had both and usually chose the 70-300 because performance was more consistent for me, even before I had the 50-70mm range covered by the 16-85mm (which has its own consistency issues.) I tried multiple copies of the 55-300 and kept one of the two best ones. Eventually I got the 60-250 and was so relieved that the first copy I tried wasn't significantly decentered that I kept it despite the AF being off by 10. Amazingly Pentax fixed the AF promptly under warranty and it requires no adjustment now. I had thought they might be able to fix the AF but there's no way I'd have counted on them to fix decentering. I wish manufactures would figure out how to mass-produce lenses to accurate enough tolerances that they actually perform the way they're designed to. I don't think we should have to be writing posts that even include the qualification "my copy" unless we did something wrong (drop the lens, etc.) Lens quality control for all the brands is just so disappointing.
03-18-2018, 07:09 AM   #7
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Great starter kit for someone with just an 18-55. These lenses are typically best in the 70-200 range, and pretty dismal at 300mm, but if you have no lenses in the 70-200 range, these are actually pretty good lenses. I got along for 5 years with just an 18-55 , a 50 1.7 for low light and a Sigma 70-300 which is quite similar.

When you think about the design of these lenses , the front element extends so far, it the front element gets so far from the sensor, it doesn't matter how good the front element is, it's seriously diluted by the time it's fully extended. I find such lenses problematic on 24 MP sensors. It was great when I was shooting 6 MP.
03-18-2018, 11:27 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Great starter kit for someone with just an 18-55. These lenses are typically best in the 70-200 range, and pretty dismal at 300mm, but if you have no lenses in the 70-200 range, these are actually pretty good lenses. I got along for 5 years with just an 18-55 , a 50 1.7 for low light and a Sigma 70-300 which is quite similar.

When you think about the design of these lenses , the front element extends so far, it the front element gets so far from the sensor, it doesn't matter how good the front element is, it's seriously diluted by the time it's fully extended. I find such lenses problematic on 24 MP sensors. It was great when I was shooting 6 MP.
Another crazy thing about this lens is that it's FF compatible. So, I see it as a decent stop gap solution until Pentax makes a modern compact FF tele.


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03-18-2018, 03:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Great starter kit for someone with just an 18-55. These lenses are typically best in the 70-200 range, and pretty dismal at 300mm, but if you have no lenses in the 70-200 range, these are actually pretty good lenses.
I've never owned this particular lens, but a friend of mine does (in Canon mount), and he gets surprisingly decent results even at 300mm. Not quite as good as the Pentax 55-300 models, especially in terms of fringing, but perfectly usable for sure. So, whilst I'd agree that it's a great starter solution for the 70-200mm focal length range and best used within that, it actually does have some real application right the way up to 300mm. Crazy for this kind of price...
03-19-2018, 10:35 AM   #10
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I jumped on this, as I thought it was worth it as a cheap and light travel option to match with my K-70.
Tried it out this weekend, and while I thought it was pretty good from 70-200, the quality out at the 300 end was poor. Enough that I'm sending it back. Guess I will spend the extra for the Pentax option.
03-19-2018, 12:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
I jumped on this, as I thought it was worth it as a cheap and light travel option to match with my K-70.
Tried it out this weekend, and while I thought it was pretty good from 70-200, the quality out at the 300 end was poor. Enough that I'm sending it back. Guess I will spend the extra for the Pentax option.
This type of lens really doesn't hold up well on the 24 MP sensors.
03-19-2018, 09:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
I jumped on this, as I thought it was worth it as a cheap and light travel option to match with my K-70.
Tried it out this weekend, and while I thought it was pretty good from 70-200, the quality out at the 300 end was poor. Enough that I'm sending it back. Guess I will spend the extra for the Pentax option.
If you think the quality at 300mm was poor and not just "okay", I think that except for a little less purple fringing and slightly more contrast with the 55-300, you'll find the 55-300 is similar. So really the Pentax option for you is probably something like the 60-250 or 300.
03-20-2018, 06:26 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
If you think the quality at 300mm was poor and not just "okay", I think that except for a little less purple fringing and slightly more contrast with the 55-300, y
Over at Optical limits, one guy testing two lenses at 10 MP the Tamron was better. But that was a few incarnations of the Pentax ago and testing two lenses you never really can make a definitive answer. Just saying.. it happened once.
03-22-2018, 06:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Over at Optical limits, one guy testing two lenses at 10 MP the Tamron was better. But that was a few incarnations of the Pentax ago and testing two lenses you never really can make a definitive answer. Just saying.. it happened once.
I had read those reports before and found them interesting. As was true with most of the copies I've tried case the Pentax was apparently decentered. But the point was they each had some pros and cons. Having tested both the WR and previous DA 55-300s I couldn't tell a difference between generally good copies, but there were some truly horrible copies that I encountered along the way. I might have been lucky to get a good Tamron on the first try. The Tamron's rotating front threads are irritating when using a polarizer, as is lack of a focus clutch, but the macro is handy and performs well for many subjects (where you don't need the performance of a true macro) at 180mm. The Tamron results aren't as contrasty as the 55-300s, but after processing the images from a decent copy of both lenses, the final images seem pretty close to me (at 16mp and with an AA filter.)

The 60-250 is better than both, except for the weight and size and price.
03-22-2018, 07:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
If you think the quality at 300mm was poor and not just "okay", I think that except for a little less purple fringing and slightly more contrast with the 55-300, you'll find the 55-300 is similar. So really the Pentax option for you is probably something like the 60-250 or 300.
I have a DA* 300 (as well as a DFA* 70-200) but neither of those really qualifies on the light and easy to tote around scale in my eyes, though both are excellent optically. I was hoping this would be a cheap and light option, with at least decent quality for hiking and travel. And it's certainly possible I got a bad copy.
I was shooting out at Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, where there are both bison and pronghorn antelope. The bison were actually too close to the car for the DA*300, so the 70-300 seemed a good choice. And it was for the close bison, but later when trying to get shots of some pronghorn butting heads about 50m away at 300mm zoom, the shots were very soft in good light with a fast shutter speed(and I don't have those kind of focus issues with the K-70 and DA*300). I was not pleased because sharp pics of the antelope butting heads would have been very nice. Still working to see if I can save them in Lightroom.
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